Axe hov­ers over DPP

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE gov­ern­ment is mulling oust­ing Direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) Le­aba Thet­sane (King’s Coun­sel) amid in­di­ca­tions it is not happy with his de­ci­sion not to op­pose bail for mur­der ac­cused for­mer De­fence min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi.

Well-placed sources told the Lesotho Times this week that the gov­ern­ment was con­sid­er­ing fast-track­ing Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane’s re­tire­ment as he was seen as an ob­sta­cle to the on­go­ing drive to pros­e­cute peo­ple ac­cused of mur­der and other se­ri­ous crimes.

Adv Thet­sane is ex­pected to re­tire next year upon reach­ing the 60-year manda­tory re­tire­ment age. The DPP is man­dated with the pros­e­cu­tion of crim­i­nal of­fences.

Adv Thet­sane’s re­la­tion­ship with Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane has been fraught over the years, with the premier hav­ing asked the DPP to re­tire along with At­tor­neyGen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe (KC) in 2014.

Ad­vo­cates Thet­sane and Makhethe suc­cess­fully chal­lenged Dr Tha­bane’s “show cause” let­ters in the courts of law.

Adv Makhethe even­tu­ally re­tired last month, ahead of his reach­ing the 60-year manda­tory re­tire­ment age on 13 Novem­ber this year.

With the Dr Tha­bane-led gov­ern­ment com­mit­ting to pur­sue jus­tice for the many un­solved killings that were not pros­e­cuted in the pre­ced­ing years, Adv Thet­sane has been in­creas­ingly seen as an ob­sta­cle to that ob­jec­tive.

“Adv Thet­sane is re­garded by many as a rem­nant of the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment led by for­mer premier Pakalitha Mo­sisili,” said the sources.

“Given that these pros­e­cu­tions di­rectly af­fect some mem­bers of the pre­vi­ous regime, such as Ntate Mokhosi, Adv Thet­sane is seen as work­ing at cross pur­poses with the gov­ern­ment.”

Dr Tha­bane’s four-party coali­tion gov­ern­ment was in­stalled af­ter the Dr Mo­sisili-led ad­min­is­tra­tion lost the 3 June 2017 Na­tional As­sem­bly elec­tions.

Dr Mo­sisili’s Demo­cratic Congress and six other par­ties that con­sti­tuted the for­mer gov­ern­ment could only muster 47 seats col­lec­tively, which were 14 short of the 61-seat thresh­old to form gov­ern­ment. For its part, the Dr Tha­bane-led al­liance had 63 seats.

The gov­ern­ment’s dis­con­tent with Adv Thet­sane was ev­i­dent dur­ing last Satur­day’s me­mo­rial event to com­mem­o­rate the three-year an­niver­sary since Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko’s death in Qoal­ing.

Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko was killed on 30 Au­gust 2014 dur­ing a predawn Lesotho De­fence Force raid on three Maseru po­lice sta­tions which the mil­i­tary claimed was meant to foil a Lesotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) plan to arm civil­ians.

How­ever, the LMPS has ve­he­mently de­nied the al­le­ga­tion, with Dr Tha­bane, who fled the coun­try ahead of the raid, de­scrib­ing the LDF’S spe­cial op­er­a­tion as an at­tempted coup.

In his re­marks dur­ing the me­mo­rial, Act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Holomo Moli­beli di­rected his ire at Adv Thet­sane for not op­pos­ing Mr Mokhosi’s bail ap­pli­ca­tion last Fri­day.

This was af­ter Mr Mokhosi was charged with mur­der­ing Po­lice Con­sta­ble Mokalekale Khetheng along with four po­lice of­fi­cers.

PC Khetheng died un­der mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances af­ter be­ing ar­rested by his col­leagues at a tra­di­tional feast in Se­both­oane, Leribe on 25 March 2016.

Mr Mokhosi was re­leased on Mon­day and now awaits trial.

“We are ready to take on Ramahloko’s killers and all oth­ers whose cases have been un­solved,” said Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli.

“But it is very frus­trat­ing to see that there is some­body who is al­ways ready to re­lease the sus­pects once they have been brought be­fore the courts of law.

“There is some­body who is busy re­leas­ing sus­pects at the courts of law af­ter we have laboured to in­ves­ti­gate them. Each time we op­pose bail cit­ing the con­cern that the sus­pects are flight risks, he re­leases them.”

Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli con­tin­ued: “He (Adv Thet­sane) keeps telling us that Lesotho and South Africa have an ex­tra­di­tion agree­ment and yet to date we have been try­ing to find (Habo­fa­noe) Nt­sie to bring him home to come and an­swer for his crimes.”

Nt­sie dra­mat­i­cally ally es­caped from the High Court dur­ing lunch-time ch-time on 26 March 2012 be­fore Jus­tice Mase­forose­foro Ma­hase had fin­ished read­ing her judg­ment ment in a case in which he was charged with the mur­der of Habaka Ma­hao and Souru Ma­supha asupha in 2004 at Lancer’s Gap in Sehlabeng. .

Nt­sie was later r con­victed in ab­sen­tia of the two mur­ders. He has been in South Africa ever since, and nd re­mains a wanted man in Lesotho.

Act­ing Com­mis­sion­ers­sioner Moli­beli said the DPP had en­sured the re­lease of Mr Mokhosi de­spite their protes­ta­­ta­tion.

“He ( Adv Thet­sane) tsane) re­leased some­one even though we op­posed his bail ap­pli­ca­tion,” he said.

“The po­lice ser­vice­vice is like a fish­ery; if the pond wa­ter is dirty the fish will not re­pro­duce. But ut if the wa­ter is clean ean enough, then the fish will surely re­pro­duceuce in a great way.”

Adv Thet­sane re­fused to com­ment on the re­marks, when hen con­tacted by this pub­li­ca­tion.

“As you know, I don’t com­ment in the me­dia and that’s my prin­ci­ple,” he said.

DPP Le­aba Thet­sane (KC).

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